A ploy by a local textile factory to keep its workers’ salaries at a bare minimum unfolded as it fired in order to rehire 300 of its 400 workers, trade unions say.
According to the United Textile Employees (UNITE), workers who were fired by Nien Hsing, a textile company based at Thetsane Industrial area have recently assumed their jobs, but this time around at a different company that falls under the same group with the intention to pay the employees an entry-point salary amounting to M2 390 per month.
UNITE Deputy Secretary General Potloloane Monare confirmed the news in an interview with this publication this week, saying that some workers have been recalled to work after the lengthy battle instigated by the trade unions to stop the job losses trend that has taken place since last year.
“It came to our attention that people who were dismissed from Nien Hsing Group were rehired by the same group in a different textile factory so as to keep the salaries low,” he said.
The workers were rehired by Nien Hsing after the company retrenched them claiming scarcity of orders.
It is reported that at least 300 workers have been rehired while the company promised to rehire over 400 more workers who will face the same fate of entry point salary.
Monare further said they are yet to assess the situation at J& S which also released some of its workers and that the matter has not yet been presented before the Ministry of Labour and Employment as they have just received reports.
He said according to a pact between the trade unions and the employer in the presence of the Ministry, if a group dismisses some of its workers while such a group has more than one factory, the retrenched workers have to be absorbed by another factory from the same group.
The agreement further states that such employees should be hired with the same contracts they were hired with in the previous factory of the same group.
Currently, the entry-point monthly salary for factory workers stands at M2 390 when the worker is less than 12 months which accrues to M2 417 after 12 months and above.
One employee who was rehired, ‘Maletele Moremi*, told this publication that he worked for the Nien Hsing group since 2013 until the closure of the company and now works at Global garments which also falls under the same company.
She disclosed that she earned M2 400 since she started working at the company for over 12 months and got to benefit only paid maternity leave.
She continued that, “I used to work for global where I was hired under a new contract and was released from work after four months of work. I was called again and rehired by the same company with the new contract again,” she said.
She disclosed that he used to earn M2 100 which was raised to M2 328 after the new management took reigns.
Attempts to get a comment from both the factory management and the Ministry proved futile until the time of publishing last night.